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Understanding the “Silent Period” with English Language Learners

If you have a new English language learner in your class who is not speaking, don’t worry. According to language researcher Stephen Krashen, most new learners of English will go...

The Read-Around: Raising Writers

The read-around is the classroom equivalent to quilt making or barn raising. It is the public space — the zocolo or town square — of my room. During our read-arounds,...

Writing About a War-Torn Home: Zerina Talks About Finding Her Writer’s Voice

English language learners enter our classrooms with histories from many different cultures—sometimes as immigrants from other countries. Although there are many reasons why families choose to immigrate, none are more...

Conferring with Anna

Anna is a five-year-old student in an Oregon kindergarten classroom who speaks Vietnamese at home. In this conference with Ruth Shagoury, she shares writing about her classmates and a snake,...

Spacing Words: A Minilesson with Young Writers

In this two-minute video, Andie Cunningham reinforces the concept of spacing words with her kindergartners using her own writing and a brainstorming web.        

Let’s Get Some Attitude

"All our attitudes come out in language," says English maven Robert MacNeil. Not just thoughts. Not just ideas. Not just imaginings. Attitudes. Maybe that's part of what's missing in those...

Listen In: Jeffry’s Ocean Story

As a literacy coach, I’m lucky to be in the same class once a week for writing workshop throughout the year. Sometimes I refer to it as my “lab classroom,”...

Power Tools

One of the benefits of living in the South is the warm weather most of the year. Two of the downfalls, though, are the humidity and mold. Usually, opening the...

Tracking Young Children’s Writing and Development

It’s important to us to be aware of each child’s writing growth as they progress through the year. Knowing what a child is attempting, experimenting with, and mastering helps us...

Mentor Texts and Teacher Modeling: The Listing Strategy

In this video from her fourth-grade classroom, Aimee Buckner teaches the “listing” strategy, using the book This Is the Tree: A Story of the Baobab as a mentor text. Aimee...

Common Core Conversations: Increasing Argumentative Writing

“Let’s argue more often!” Does this exclamation bring up some feelings for you? Are they positive? Maybe . . . if you won debates in high school. Perhaps the word...

The Difference Between Conferring and “Touching Base”

Sometimes when I talk with teachers about creating “the luscious feeling of endless time,” they look at me like I’ve lost my mind. They tell me they love the idea,...

Whole Class Interviews: Building Community in Writing Workshop (TEMPLATE)

As I begin to set up my classroom, I can’t help but think back to Jonathan’s comment on our last day of school a few years ago in June. We...

Important Book, Important Notes: Guiding Young Students Through Notetaking

For about six weeks last winter, my daughter Lindsay was doing research on dogs during her self-directed learning time in kindergarten. She checked out a pile of Eyewitness books about...

Breathing New Life into the Writer’s Notebook

By the time they step into our classroom, my sixth graders have kept writer’s notebooks ever since they were in second grade. They arrive knowing that a writer’s notebook is...

Troubleshooting Difficulties When Writing a Big Idea in Memoir

Looking at a piece of student writing and trying to decide what to teach can feel overwhelming. However, within a genre, there are predictable difficulties that will appear.  When we...

Tweeting an Author

  Katherine Sokolowski helps Amelia send a tweet to a favorite author.        

Conferring in Kindergarten: Drawing to Learn

Hayley Whitaker confers with a kindergartner and helps him make meaning through drawings.

Developing a Scholarly Voice

Many students use a casual voice in formal writing. Christy Rush-Levine shares how to help student writers understand and develop a scholarly tone. Planning Resources Click here to download the...

Managing Independent Projects (SHORTS)

If you had been able to walk around our classroom last Friday, you might have paused to see Sophie sketching a picture in a comic strip panel. As you glanced...

Jose the Late Bloomer

Jose was a first grader, the youngest English language learner in my class. I can still remember his messy hair and quiet yawns. He seemed to like school, but it...